Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

La Vida Dictionario

My Merriam Webster reflected life continues. Today's dictionary divination was "peregrination" a word taking its meaning from all sorts of roots ranging from a word itself meaning "journey" to another denoting a type of falcon typically captured during its first journey away from the nest.

Don't say I never taught you anything. (No really. True or not, I don't want you saying so....).

Peregrination refers to "an excursion especially on foot or to a foreign country : journey".

And that is precisely what I accomplished. I set out on an excursion, on foot, to a cool wet country foreign to Central Texans for months (and months).It was only a bit above 70 degrees when I set out to view the response to a three day rain in our area. It was deliciously different to see the result of over three inches of falling wet stuff.
Drenched beds, drops of water sitting pooled in every indentation, rain still hanging off every berry,
and leaf.
It has been different indoors as well. Not only because we have been able to leave solar screens raised, windows and sliding glass doors opened to screens welcoming ozone soaked breezes.But also because I painted the kitchen a bright new color, a change inviting me to pause, admire and appreciate a space I spend so much time in that it previously had all but disappeared to my eye.

On the cooking/eating front, the temporary disappearance of the death star from our skies made it reasonable to think about enjoying seasonal produce in some cooler weather prep styles. The other night I tossed grilled Nilgai sausage atop long simmered local black eyed peas layered on some saute├ęd lacinato kale.We had Autumn for dinner, and about time. It being reasonable to voluntarily add heat into the kitchen, I found myself more than ready to bake something. My first foray into a happy dusting off of the indoor oven was the following from one of my favorites, Marilyn's Simmer Till Done blog.

While struggling with technical blog clouds, Marilyn offered her readers silver linings by rerunning a new-to-me recipe for Zucchini-Ginger bread. You'll want to go read her entire post to get the full story. It includes a laugh out loud recorded exchange between a Barista Girl and her Latte Lady customer. This exchange will leave you happy you spent your time spent reading even if you are convinced you don't like zucchini bread.

And if you'll pardon my saying so, if you are one of those folks who don't like zucchini bread? This gingery recipe just might be the trick to open your mind to that moist treat. If you don't like this zucchini bread then I'm convinced zuke bread is simply not for you (and you will please forward the leftovers to me? Thanks!).

For your ease here's Marilyn's recipe again. I chose to add chopped almonds, and used half Splenda and half a really gnarly unrefined unbleached organic whole cane sugar that brings loads of molasses notes and has a large grain. That meant I had to blend it with my eggs a bit more on the front end but this recipe forgave all that. I used my bundt pan and found her suggested baking times to be spot on.Without further ado, from Marilyn at Simmer Till Done:

Zucchini-Ginger Bread

This fine-textured zucchini bread has a gentle ginger bite. I’d planned to top this with a little lemon icing, but one bite told me it didn’t need it. Cold milk – or a triple soy half-caf whatever – will do just fine.

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon powdered ginger
1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and grated fine (about 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons)*

2 cups finely shredded, unpeeled zucchini, packed*

optional: 1 cup finely chopped nuts

1 tablespoon vanilla
* I use a fine-holed grater to both shred the zucchini and grate the ginger, for the smallest bits possible. When grating the ginger, be sure to use only the “puree” you’ve scraped from under the grater, and discard the fibrous parts left in your hand.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use baking spray (and parchment paper, if desired) to prepare at 9 x 5 loaf pan or a 10-inch tube pan. If you make the 9 x 5 loaf, you will have a small amount of batter left over: make a mini-loaf or a few zucchini muffins.

Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, oil and eggs together for a few minutes, until thick and a slight yellow ribbon falls from beaters.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and powdered ginger together.

Fold the zucchini, fresh ginger and optional nuts into the sugar-egg mixture. Fold in the flour mixture and vanilla until thoroughly combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan (or pans), filling large loaf pan 2/3 full.

Bake on a center oven rack for about 1 hour (check smaller items sooner), or until tester comes out sticky but mostly dry. Store, wrapped in plastic, for several days at room temperature.


Iris said...

Love your pretty raindrop pictures! And I love your lovely mellow-yellow new kitchen paint. I'm not much of a baker, but should I get inspired, the zucchini-ginger recipe will be the first I make. Thanks!

Marilyn said...

So happy you've enjoyed the zucchini-ginger bread! Your adjustments all sound delightful, and your pictures are lovely. Glad to be of some tiny little service. :)

TexasDeb said...

You know Iris, the mellow yellow looks fabulous with purples so I'm not surprised it appeals to you like it does to me.

Truth be told, I'm not much of a baker either. This recipe is one of those basic wonderful quick bread preps that make me FEEL like a baker. Plus afterwards there is the benefit of yummy stuff to eat that doesn't contain a full day's calories in a serving.

Marilyn - what can I say here? "Tiny little service"? Your blog (not even counting the amazing recipes) is so much more than that. Thanks for dropping in.